Black Friday is just an informal name given to the day right after Thanksgiving Day in the US. Traditionally, Thanksgiving is celebrated annually on the fourth Thursday of November. The day following Thanksgiving is seen as the beginning of America’s Christmas shopping season, with its early evidence going back to 1952. Over the years, most of the US’s leading stores have promoted sales on Black Friday and open their stores at midnight. Some stores also tend to initiate the sales right on Thanksgiving Day also. Black Friday is not seen as an official holiday; however, states like California observe a day’s off for the state government employees rather a federal holiday in the name of Columbus Day.
Early Pieces of Evidence of Black Friday
The earliest signs of Black Friday can be seen as early as the 1960s in Philadelphia, where the city merchants tried to alter the existing connotation to ‘Big Friday.’ However, the merchants failed miserably. The reason why merchants demanded changes was influenced by the motive of removing all kinds of negative associations. However, the term ‘Big Friday’ didn’t spread to other parts of the US. Nearly two decades later, in the late 1980s, retailers came up with a newer method of re-establishing Black Friday to turn the previous conceptions of negativity to positivity associated with it. Retailers in the US reciprocated the same change on their customers also. This resulted in bringing a holiday right before Christmas followed after Thanksgiving, and this marked the occasion where the stores made good profits.
Origin of the Term- “Black Friday”
In history, there have been several incidents that can be quoted as “Black Friday”. Out of these, the most significant event can be described as the Panic of 1869. Here two financiers namely- Jay Gould and James Fisk with the help of their connections present in the Grant Administration made an attempt to corner the gold market. When the then president of the US, Grant came to know about this, he asked the Treasury to release a huge volume of gold which could be used for halting the run. This led to a sharp fall in the prices and the price of gold went down by 18%.
How North America Celebrates Black Friday
The SouthPark that is the neighborhood of North Carolina remains the most trafficked area of the US on Black Friday. Black Friday is seen as a shopping day for a number of reasons. In the US, Black Friday is also the last major holiday before Christmas and it marks an unofficial beginning of the Christmas shopping season. Also, most employers offer their employees a day off as an extension to the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. To gain the advantage of this, all the retailers irrespective of their size offer diversified sales on the door crasher items to excite the crowd. In the past, there have been instances where the retailers have stayed beyond the normal hours either to gain a competitive edge or be a part of the competition.
Traffic Challenges for Online Retailers
Few online stores tend to invest a huge amount of money for promotional campaigns for generating more sales and driving traffic. An online retail e-magazine in 2017 has stated that most of the websites of the retailers went down as they failed to manage the surged traffic hitting their websites on Black Friday. This has been a clear indication that online retailers have inefficiently prepared to cope with huge traffic resulting in poor performance of the website, high downtimes leading to a loss in revenues for the retailers.
Cyber Monday is a relatively newer term coined in 2005. It is used for referring the Monday immediately after Black Friday and is based on a trend observed by the retailers back in the mid-2000s. Retailers observed that most of the consumers were too engrossed for shopping on the Thanksgiving weekend or at times couldn’t find the desired product, so all such customers looked for online bargains on Monday either from home or at work. As per an online report, the Cyber Monday of 2014 proved to be the busiest day of the year with sales volume exceeding over $2 billion via desktops.
Advantages of Online Black Friday
- Larger Inventory
The best part of carrying out online shopping on a Black Friday is that the users get to access to each product offered by the store. Usually, the number of products available for online sales tends to be far more than what is presented in a store. Offline stores tend to face an “out-of-stock” situation more often for certain products, however, the same possibility may occur online, but its chances are minimal.
- More Number of Stores
By shopping online, the user can load websites of every single store from which they wish to perform shopping. It is recommended that the users create an account for themselves prior to Black Friday so that it becomes easy to add items to the cart and perform payment quickly. When this approach is followed, the users can hit several stores in a short period of time.
- Highly Efficient
Online shopping is the most efficient method as one doesn’t have to deal with the surged crowds volumes, traffic or even waiting in long lines. One just needs to create a store account, add products in the shopping cart and just checkout. If the user is unsure about the product, then the reviews of other users come handy to serve this confusion. One also has got access to key product information like specifications and other technicalities on a single window. On a lighter note, there are absolutely no chances of stampedes by other anxious online shoppers.